Olaf Scholz: Future Frames For Content

21 Sept. 2017 @ Schmidt Theater (Saal)

Speaker:  Olaf Scholz (First Mayor and President of the Senate, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, DE)

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Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz started his keynote by pointing out that it wasn’t just the music industry attending Reeperbahn Festival, but the creative sector in general as well as the digital economy. “There’s no way around it, because the topics and concerns are far to interconnected for us to be discussing them separately”, said the politician.

His keynote was titled “Future Frames for Content.” His focus lay on frameworks for business models taking a crucial role between users and content, such as YouTube.

“Future frameworks need to work for both sides: the content producers as well as the digital economy,” Scholz explained.

He emphasized that producers of culture and media on the one hand, and the digital industry on the other, should be honest when it comes to the question of whether the content producers and authors are being remunerated fairly.

Said Scholz: “A fair framework isn’t just a question of economic sanity. It is a precondition so that content can continue to be created freely and find its way to readers, listeners, viewers and users. This is existential for the maturity of citizens as well as our society’s ability to have a discourse.”

Since politics would never be able to keep up with the speed of technological innovations, any framework would have to be founded on solid principles, he continued. On the one hand, a framework should not thwart innovative strength. On the other hand, a new business model shouldn’t be able to operate in an unregulated manner just because there wasn’t any framework in place yet. Current developments such as virtual reality, blockchain or voice-controlled digital assistants only raised more questions and highlighted the importance of finding parameters based on principles.

Intermediaries such as Facebook select information based to its relevance to Facebook’s users. According to Scholz, the criteria of what constitutes relevance have to be transparent. And platforms such as YouTube, which hardly curates own content but uses third-party content, should be forced to acquire licenses before they were able to use the content.

To guarantee these things, politicians had to make sure they no longer got lost in the details, but developed a sensible master plan. “Transparency for the users, diversity of content, fair competition and appropriate payment for all involved in creating value. Free space for new ideas and the development of innovations – we’re taking all of that into account,” said Scholz.

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